When Special Counsel Robert Mueller brought charges against 13 Russians involved in the hacking and meddling in the 2016 Presidential election, many believed it was just a warm-up to more widespread and serious charges to come.
And it looks like that was a correct assumption, as Mueller is looking to bring another round of fresh indictments against several key players in the election interference.
While on the surface this may seem like just more indictments to add to the pile, this is actually a major development in the investigation, because the indictments being reported by NBC News are aimed directly at people who “allegedly” conspired directly with the Donald Trump campaign.
The sources say the possible new indictment — or more than one, if that’s how Mueller’s office decides to proceed — would delve into the details of, and the people behind, the Russian intelligence operation that used hackers to penetrate computer networks and steal emails of both the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. The release of embarrassing Democratic emails through WikiLeaks became a prominent feature in the 2016 presidential election, cited at least 145 times by Republican candidate Donald Trump in the final month of the campaign. At one point he publicly urged “Russia” to find and release emails Trump believed were missing from Democrat Hillary Clinton’s private server.
It’s not yet known if WikiLeaks or its founder Julian Assange, will be among those indicted, but numerous people – including his son Donald Trump Jr and close ally Roger Stone – were in contact with WikiLeaks and/or the Russian hackers during this time period.
Bill Palmer makes a very good point about the news: “So how many of these hackers and leakers being indicted are Russians, and how many are Americans? How many can actually be brought to trial? That may not be the most important part here. These charges will establish that a criminal hacking and leaking conspiracy existed, which will legally pave the way for people like Trump Jr and Stone to be charged for their own roles in this conspiracy.”
The fact that this story leaked to the media means the indictments are going to happen, which will cause the White House to panic, yet again, trying to do damage control and distancing themselves from the scandal by any means necessary.
It’s a virtual certainty that the story was given to the media by Robert Mueller’s team. As we’ve seen throughout the entire investigation, absolutely nothing leaks to the media unless Mueller wants it to. So, perhaps this was a strategic move by Mueller in an effort to get people to start talking before it’s too late.